'Washington Square is perhaps the only novel in which a man has successfully invaded the feminine field and produced work comparable to Jane Austen's,' said Graham Greene.
Inspired by a story Henry James heard at a dinner party, Washington Square tells how the rakish but idle Morris Townsend tries to win the heart of heiress Catherine Sloper against the objections of her father. Precise and understated, the book endures as a matchless social study of New York in the mid-nineteenth century.
'Washington Square has long been beloved by almost all readers,' noted Louis Auchincloss. 'The chief beauty of the novel lies in its expression--by background, characterization, and dialogue--of its mild heroine's mood of long-suffering patience. Everything is ordered, polite, still: the charming old square in the pre-brownstone city, the small, innocent, decorous social gatherings, the formal good manners, the quaint reasonableness of the dialogues. . . . James was the poet of cities: New York in Washington Square.' Clifton Fadiman agreed: 'It has extraordinary charm, deriving from an almost Mozartian combination of sweetness and depth.
In the course of his famous travels, Gulliver is captured by miniature people who wage war on each other because of religious disagreement over how to crack eggs, is sexually assaulted by giants, visits a floating island, and decides that the society of horses is better than that of his fellow man. Swift's tough, filthy and incisive satire has much to say about the state of the world today and is presented here in its unexpurgated entirety.
Hester Prynne is a beautiful young woman. She is also an outcast. In the eyes of her neighbours she has committed an unforgivable sin. Everyone knows that her little daughter, Pearl, is the product of an illicit affair but no one knows the identity of Pearl's father. Hester's refusal to name him brings more condemnation upon her. But she stands strong in the face of public scorn, even when she is forced to wear the sign of her shame sewn onto her clothes: the scarlet letter 'A' for 'Adulteress
Huck is a young, naive white boy fleeing from his drunken, dangerous Pap, and Jim is a runaway slave longing to be reunited with his family. Flung together by circumstance, they journey down the Mississippi together on a log raft, each in search of his own definition of freedom. Their daring adventures along the way provide both entertainment and a satirical look at the moral values of the Deep South of the 1800s.
When the Time Traveller courageously stepped out of his machine for the first time, he found himself in the year 802,700--and everything has changed. In another, more utopian age, creatures seemed to dwell together in perfect harmony. The Time Traveller thought he could study these marvelous beings--unearth their secret and then retum to his own time--until he discovered that his invention, his only avenue of escape, had been stolen. H.G. Well's famous novel of one man's astonishing journey beyond the conventional limits of the imagination first appeared in 1895. It won him immediate recognition, and has been regarded ever since as one of the great masterpieces in the literature of science fiction.
From the Paperback edition.
WITH AN INTRODUCTION BY LIONEL SHRIVERNewland Archer and May Welland are the perfect couple. He is a wealthy young lawyer and she is a lovely and sweet-natured girl. All seems set for success until the arrival of May's unconventional cousin Ellen Olenska, who returns from Europe without her husband and proceeds to shake up polite New York society. To Newland, she is a breath of fresh air and a free spirit, but the bond that develops between them throws his values into confusion and threatens his relationship with May.The Vintage Classics edition of The Age of Innocence is published to tie-in with the publication of the Vintage paperback of Hermione Lee's celebrated biography of Edith Wharton
**Winner of the Nobel Prize in Literature**
The world's finest living short story writer turns to her family for inspiration; and what follows is a fictionalised, brilliantly imagined version of the past. From her ancestors' view from Edinburgh's Castle Rock in the eighteenth century to her parents' thwarted ambitions in Ontario, and her own awakening in 1950s Canada, Munro effortlessly weaves fact and myth to create an epic story of past and present, proving that fiction has much to tell us about life.
His first major book of fiction: lyrical, personal, mythical, hilarious and mesmeric stories that shed new light on both the US and the writer through whose eyes we access this compelling and resonant land.
A story of friendship and love from the bestselling author of Circle of Friends.Evacuated from Blitz-battered London, shy and genteel Elizabeth White is sent to stay with the boisterous O'Connors in Kilgarret, Ireland. It is the beginning of an unshakeable bond between Elizabeth and Aisling O'Connor, a friendship which will endure through twenty turbulent years of change and chaos, joy and sorrow, soaring dreams and searing betrayals... Writing with warmth, wit and great compassion, Maeve Binchy tells a magnificent story of the lives and loves of two women, bound together in a friendship that nothing could tear asunder - not even the man who threatened to come between them forever.
Charles Smithson, a respectable engaged man, meets Sarah Woodruff as she stands on the Cobb at Lyme Regis, staring out to sea. Charles falls in love, but Sarah is a digraced woman, and their romance will defy all the stifling conventions of the Victorian age.Meryl Streep received her third Oscar nomination for her portrayal of Sarah in the 1981 film, which was adapted for the screen by Harold Pinter.
In the dramatic landscape of the Italian Alps a group of English canoeists arrive for an 'introduction to white water.' Camping, eating and paddling together, six adults and nine adolescents seem set to enjoy what their leader insists on calling a 'community experience.' Their hosts are Clive, a taciturn figure, and Michela, his fragile girlfriend. Joining the group late are Vince, a banker trying to make sense of the flotsam of his existence, and his teenage daughter whom he feels moving inexorably away from him. The dangerous river manages to bring out the group's qualities and failings in the most urgent fashion, provoking sudden conflicts and unexpected shifts of alliance. An ideal love affair breaks down and an apparently impossible one timidly buds. A banal disagreement turns violent. Meanwhile, the hottest summer on record is filling the glacier-fed rivers with a melt water so wild that it is surely unwise of the distracted instructors to launch their party into the last day's descent of the upper Aurina...
A fair-haired young man from Virginia sees a dark girl rowing on the lake at Versailles and he falls in love. She turns out to be the Duchess de La Rochefoucauld, known as Rosalie, married to a man twice her age who also happens to be her uncle. It is the spring of 1875 and the young American, William Short, nicknamed Wm, has crossed the Atlantic to serve as secretary to his adoptive father Thomas Jefferson at the Paris embassy. Lodging on the Champs Elysees with Jefferson's two young daughters and their teenage slave Sally Hemings, Wm becomes the darling of the free spirits of the ancien regime, who want to copy everything American, including revolution and the pursuit of happiness.But this is a time when nothing runs straight, certainly not the pursuit of happiness. Together and apart, Wm and Rosalie endure the bloodiest days of the Terror when everyone loses their heads or their illusions except for one man, but that man is about to become President of the United States.Stylish, intelligent and witty, The Condor's Head is by turns tense and erotic, incredibly funny and unbearably sad. It includes the real-life letters of Wm and Rosalie and Jefferson, some never published before. It also incidentally reveals the truth about the Third President and Sally Hemings.
John Crace's 'Digested Read' column in the Guardian has rightly acquired a cult following. Each week fans avidly devour his latest razor-sharp literary assassination, while authors turn tremblingly to the appropriate page of the review section, fearful that it may be their turn to be mercilessly sent up.Now he turns his critical eye on the classics of the last century, offering bite-sized pastiches of everything from Mrs Dalloway to Trainspotting via Lolita and The Great Gatsby. Those who have never quite got around to reading A Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man will be delighted to find its essence distilled into a handful of paragraphs. Those who have never really enjoyed Lord of the Flies will be pleased to find it hilariously parodied in an easily swallowable 982 words. And those who find all such works a little highbrow will be relieved to discover, between the covers of this book, John Crace's take on the likes of Ian Fleming, P. G. Wodehouse and the Highway Code.Witty and sharp, this is essential reading both for those who genuinely love literature and for those who merely want to appear ridiculously well read.
Born at the stroke of midnight, at the precise moment of India's independence, Saleem Sinai is destined from birth to be special. For he is one of 1,001 children born in the midnight hour, children who all have special gifts, children with whom Saleem is telepathically linked.But there has been a terrible mix up at birth, and Saleem's life takes some unexpected twists and turns. As he grows up amidst a whirlwind of triumphs and disasters, Saleem must learn the ominous consequences of his gift, for the course of his life is inseparably linked to that of his motherland, and his every act is mirrored and magnified in the events that shape the newborn nation of India. It is a great gift, and a terrible burden.
In a renovated Italian palace set above the blue of the sea, the Junoesque figure of Mrs Aldwinkle moves among her guests. These include a poet who earns his living editing The Rabbit Fancier's Gazette; a popular novelist who records every detail of her affair with another guest as future literary material; an aging philosopher who pursues a wealthy yet mentally-disabled heiress and a pair of na-ve and charming young lovers. Deliciously satirical, Those Barren Leaves bites the hands of those who dare to posture or feign sophistication and is as comically fresh today as when it was first published.
Oliver is an orphan living on the dangerous London streets with no one but himself to rely on. Fleeing from poverty and hardship, he falls in with a criminal street gang who will not let him go, however hard he tries to escape. In Oliver Twist, Dickens graphically conjures up the capital's underworld, full of prostitutes, thieves and lost and homeless children, and gives a voice to the disadvantaged and abused.
Alfred Day wanted his war. In its turmoil he found his proper purpose as the tail-gunner in a Lancaster bomber; he found the wild, dark fellowship of his crew, and - most extraordinary of all - he found Joyce, a woman to love. But that's all gone now - the war took it away. Maybe it took him, too.
Now in 1949, employed as an extra in a war film that echoes his real experience, Day begins to recall what he would rather forget...
What could be more relaxing than a refreshing holiday on the river with your two best friends and faithful canine companion, Montmorency? However, as J. discovers, there is more to life on the waves than meets the eye - including navigational challenges, culinary disasters, and heroic battles with swans, kettles and tins of pineapple. Jerome K. Jerome's delightful novel has kept readers smiling for years and his prose has found a perfect partner in Vic Reeves's glorious and witty illustrations.ILLUSTRATED WITH THIRTY ORIGINAL ILLUSTRATIONS BY COMEDIAN AND ARTIST VIC REEVES - EXCLUSIVE TO VINTAGE CLASSICS
From the winner of the 2011 Man Booker Prize for Fiction comes an enthralling set of short stories.No one has a better perspective on life on both sides of the channel than Julian Barnes. In these exquisitely crafted stories spanning several centuries, he takes as his universal theme the British in France; from the last days of a reclusive English composer, the beef consuming 'navvies' labouring on the Paris-Rouen railway to a lonely woman mourning the death of her brother on the battlefields of the Somme.
In a prison in Occupied France one in every ten men is to be shot. The prisoners draw lots among themselves - and for rich lawyer Louis Chavel it seems that his whole life has been leading up to an agonising and crucial failure of nerve. Hysterical with panic, fear, and a sense of injustice, he offers to barter everything he owns for someone to take his place. Graham Greene wrote The Tenth Man in 1944, when he was under a two-year contract to Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer, and the manuscript lay forgotten in MGM's archives until 1983. It was published two years later with an introduction by the author.
This collection combines stories from his previous books THE SILVER AGE and THREE EVENINGS. In these stories James Lasdun views greed and excess from illuminating angles and the impulse of those who own too much to dispossess themselves. He examines the callousness by which adults lose influence over children and the instinctive tactics devised by children for gaining power over adults. He calls corruption, in its ingenious guises, to account while acknowledging the perverse fascination of human foibles. Each story casts a curious spell, in which objects and the natural world are tinged with an aura of the magical. A sensuous lyricism of prose governed by a witty and subtle intelligence brings these stories their very special flavour.
WITH AN INTRODUCTION BY IAN THOMSONThe Third Man is Graham Greene's brilliant recreation of post-war Vienna, a 'smashed dreary city' occupied by the four Allied powers. Rollo Martins, a second-rate novelist, arrives penniless to visit his friend and hero, Harry Lime. But Harry has died in suspicious circumstances, and the police are closing in on his associates...The Fallen Idol is the chilling story of a small boy caught up in the games that adults play. Left in the care of the butler and his wife whilst his parents go on a fortnight's holiday, Philip realises too late the danger of lies and deceit. But the truth is even deadlier.
The stories in this book, all written between 1929 and 1954, all share the themes that feature so strongly in Graham Greene's novels: humour and violence, pity and hatred, betrayal and pursuit. Comic, sad, shocking and tragic, they recount the tales of Mr Maling's loud stomach, destructive gangs of children, indiscretions revealed and secrets uncovered, each one unmistakeably the work of the twentieth century's master storyteller.
With a new introduction by Colm ToibinA leak is traced to a small sub-section of SIS, sparking off the inevitable security checks, tensions and suspicions. The sort of atmosphere, perhaps, where mistakes could be made? For Maurice Castle, it is the end of the line anyway, and time for him to retire to live peacefully with his African wife, Sarah. To the lonely, isolated, neurotic world of the Secret Service, Graham Greene brings his brilliance and perception, laying bare a machine that sometimes overlooks the subtle and secret motivations that impel us.